Cat flu and vaccinating to prevent

Cat flu is a relatively harmless sounding condition but it can be very serious. Symptoms of cat flu can range from mild runny eyes and nose through to terrible mouth and eye ulcers which can result in permanent blindness and an inability to eat. Kittens in particular can be very badly affected for life by cat flu and cats can die sometimes if the infection is overwhelming. Indoor cats are also not entirely safe as the virus can be spread on people hands as well as in aerosols, etc and can persist in the environment for weeks.

Cat flu is difficult to treat once contracted because it is usually caused by a virus. In most cats we give antibiotics to stop secondary bacterial infections as well as anti-inflammatories and pain relief to encourage them to keep eating and feel better. Very badly affected cats need anti-virals and sometimes intravenous drips to rehydrate. When cats are sent home care involves removing any discharges and trying to encourage them to eat with smelly foods like fish warmed up. Steamy rooms can also help to loosen some of the secretions.

In the long term cat flu poses several issues. Some viruses can never be fully cleared from the body and this is why some cats are prone to repeated bouts of cat flu throughout their life, whenever they become run down or unwell. Some cats become carriers which means that while they don’t show signs they can infect other cats and pass on the disease – for example to new kittens in the household. In the long term the viruses can also cause chronic mouth ulcers and inflammation which can be very painful for cats and difficult to treat effectively.

The above are vital reasons as to why all cats (including indoors cats) should be vaccinated against cat flu. The vaccines are given once yearly and are the best way to prevent your cat developing any of the above symptoms.

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